Sunday NFL Countdown
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|Sunday NFL Countdown|
Sunday NFL Countdown logo used from 2006–2013
|Country of origin||United States|
|Running time||2 hours|
|Original network||ESPN (1985–)
ESPN HD (2004–)
|Original release||September 7, 1985 – present|
Sunday NFL Countdown is a pregame show of all the NFL action for that week. The official name is Sunday NFL Countdown presented by Snickers. The show airs on ESPN, ESPN HD, TSN and TSN HD from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Eastern time every Sunday during the National Football League regular season. In Europe it is aired by ESPN America.
It is very similar to The NFL Today on CBS and Fox NFL Sunday, which airs on Fox. The show's former names include NFL GameDay from 1985 to 1995, NFL Countdown from 1996 to 1997, and since 1998, Sunday NFL Countdown (to demarcate from the Monday night version of the series). In 2006, the program introduced new graphics and a new logo to resemble the network's Monday Night Football logo.
The show's awards include seven Sports Emmy Awards for Outstanding Weekly Show (1988, 1991, 1994, 1995, 2001, 2003, and 2006 seasons) and five CableACE Awards (1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, and 1995 seasons).
On September 7, 2014 — coincidentally, the 35th anniversary of ESPN's launch — Sunday NFL Countdown debuted a brand-new studio inside Digital Center 2 of ESPN's main facilities in Bristol. With it, came a new logo and also, a new graphics package similar to that of SportsCenter. Like SportsCenter, a Helvetica font is used, but with the lower-thirds having white text on a black background, as opposed to black text on a white background. Starting September 8, every NFL show produced at ESPN now shares its new graphics, new logo, and a new set (except Monday Night Countdown, which itself shares the same graphics package and theme music as Monday Night Football).
On September 13, 2015, Sunday NFL Countdown was shortened from 3 hours to 2 hours, due to a new Sunday edition of NFL Insiders being aired in the 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. ET time slot. Therefore, Sunday NFL Countdown was moved down an hour to 11 a.m. ET.
On July 14, 2003, ESPN announced that Rush Limbaugh would be joining the show as a weekly commentator when it premiered on September 7. Limbaugh would provide the "voice of the fan" and was supposed to spark debate on the show. On September 28, Limbaugh commented about Donovan McNabb, the quarterback of the Philadelphia Eagles:
- "Sorry to say this, I don't think he's been that good from the get-go. I think what we've had here is a little social concern in the NFL. The media has been very desirous that a black quarterback do well. There is a little hope invested in McNabb, and he got a lot of credit for the performance of this team that he didn't deserve. The defense carried this team."
- "Let me just say that it was not our decision to have Rush Limbaugh on this show. I've seen replay after replay of Limbaugh's comments with my face attached as well as that of my colleagues, comments which made us very uncomfortable at the time, although the depth and the insensitive nature of which weren't fully felt until it seemed too late to reply. He was brought here to talk football, and he broke that trust. Rush told us the social commentary for which he is so well known would not cross over to our show, and instead, he would represent the viewpoint of the intelligent, passionate fan. Rush Limbaugh was not a fit for NFL Countdown."
In February 2007, ESPN confirmed an earlier report in the Dallas Morning News that Michael Irvin would not be brought back to the show or to the network. On March 12, ESPN confirmed on its website that Michael Irvin's former teammate, Emmitt Smith would fill Irvin's chair, but that arrangement only lasted one season. Keyshawn Johnson also joined the network and has served as an analyst for Countdown, among other programs.
- Chris Berman: (Host, 1985–present)
- Randy Moss: (Analyst, 2016–present)
- Trent Dilfer: (Analyst, 2016–present)
- Matt Hasselbeck: (Analyst, 2016–present)
- Charles Woodson: (Analyst, 2016–present)
- Wendi Nix: (Host, 2014–present)
- Greg Garber: (Correspondent, 1991–present)
- Sal Paolantonio: (Correspondent, 1995–present)
- Ed Werder: (Correspondent, 1998–present)
- Frank Caliendo: (2012–present)
- Pete Axthelm: (analyst, 1987–1990)
- Cris Carter: (Analyst, 2008–2015)
- Mike Ditka: (analyst, 2006–2015)
- Josh Elliott: (correspondent, 2006–2010)
- Merril Hoge: (analyst, 2012–2014)
- Michael Irvin: (analyst, 2003–2006)
- Tom Jackson: (Analyst, 1987–2015)
- Ron Jaworski: (contributor, 1990–2005) (analyst, 2006; 2012–2014)
- Keyshawn Johnson (analyst, 2007–2015)
- Jim Kelly: (analyst, 1998–2000)
- Andrea Kremer: (contributor, 1989–2005)
- Ray Lewis: (analyst, 2013–2015)
- Rush Limbaugh: (analyst, 2003)
- Kenny Mayne: (contributor, 2005–2012)
- Pam Oliver: (reporter)
- Bill Parcells: (contributor, 2007)
- Phil Simms: (analyst, 1994)
- Stuart Scott: (co-host, 1999–2000)
- Sterling Sharpe: (analyst, 1995–2003)
- Emmitt Smith: (analyst, 2007)
- Joe Theismann: (analyst, 1988–1997)
- Mike Tirico: (co-host, 1998)
- Steve Young: (analyst, 2000–2005) (contributor, 2006–2009)
- Jack Youngblood: (analyst, 1985–1986)
- Around the League: A segment where several live reports from gameday stadiums are received, including last-minute lineup changes and other assorted late-breaking gameday news.
- Eye in the Sky: Plays are analyzed by various analysts.
- Fantasy Tips: First introduced in 2006, this segment originally featured Ron Jaworski offering tips to the viewers about their fantasy teams for that week's games. This segment is now hosted by ESPN fantasy analyst Matthew Berry.
- Field Pass (formerly known as Sunday Stretch): A segment where players are shown warming for their games.
- Inactives: Players who are active or inactive for the game are announced, normally around 11:30 ET. It was briefly sponsored by FanDuel during the 2015 season.
- The Mort Report: NFL "insider" Chris Mortensen breaks down trade rumors, coaching changes, and injuries.
- Special Look: (formerly, Playmaking Made Easy) During this segment, the hosts of the show diagram a specific football play on a large green floor resembling a football field with astroturf, and then act it out in slow-motion. The name apparently evolves with sponsorship (i.e. the "Playmaking made Easy" was used under Staples, "Special Look" is used under IBM).
- Sunday Drive: Ron Jaworski provides a look inside one particular game, breaking down a key scoring drive from start to finish.
- Game Picks: Predictions on the day's game outcomes from the show's on-air personalities. In Week 5 of the 2015 season, Applebee's became the sponsor. Mobil 1 became the sponsor in the 2015 Week 13 schedule. Previously, it had been sponsored by Bank of America, but BoA resumed sponsorship during the 2015-16 postseason.
- Gamebreakers: This is at the very end of the show, when each analyst and Berman give two or three players they expect to have a big day. For the 2009 season, each analyst and Berman only give one player. In 2013, Keyshawn Johnson became the only analyst.
- Late Hits: This is at the end of the show when Chris Mortensen delivers some final news and notes.
- Most Dependable Player: A player who is the most dependable for his team is selected. It was originally called "Strong Player" in the 2014 season, but was changed to Most Dependable Player early in the season.
- Pregame HQ: Introduced in the 2015 season, it's hosted by Mortensen and Schefter and is sponsored by Domino's.
- Where You At?: Introduced in the 2012 season, Carter reveals which players have gone missing, and then asks, "Where You At?". Early on, Jackson assisted Carter. In 2015, Carter called out two players: Andrew Luck and Eddie Lacy.
- Cold Hard Facts;: 12 questions were answered by Mortensen and Schefter.
- Ditka's Doghouse: Ditka sent a player or team to his doghouse for a previous week's poor performance. In 2008, he sent a division (AFC West) and entire states (Ohio and Missouri) to the doghouse.
- The Eliminator: Berman, Jackson and the rest of the crew picked a team to win the day's game. If the team one picked lost, he was eliminated. The rules were changed later on where one could only pick a team once a season.
- Inside the Numbers: Berman went behind the statistics to analyze a player or team. It was sponsored for many years by Visa.
- Jam Session: former Atlanta Falcons running back Jamal Anderson interviewed a football player.
- Line 'Em Up: two animated characters, Hector the Projector and Victor the Predictor, offered fantasy football tips.
- The Mayne Event: Kenny Mayne hosted a segment that parodied human interest stories with a tie-in the NFL. Mayne announced that on Twitter that the segment had been canceled, at least for the 2013 season. It was not seen in 2014, nor has it not been aired in 2015.
- NFL 32: Segment featuring opinions from the NFL 32 crew.
- No Huddle: Segment that had Berman asking questions to the analysts; each had either a minute, ninety seconds or two minutes to answer Berman's questions.
- Open Mikes: This was a debate on a controversial subject(s) between analysts Michael Irvin and Mike Ditka and was hosted by Chris Berman.
- Stop It!: Ditka was asked a question by an off-screen announcer that things that must be stopped in the NFL, such as chanting Tim Tebow's name while he was the back up quarterback. He was sometimes asked about non-sports news, like Kim Kardashian when her 72-day marriage to Kris Humphries ended in 2011. At the end of each response, Ditka said, "Stop It!"
- Takin' It to the House: A segment that was hosted by ten-year-old Chicago resident Jason Krause.
- Tip Drill: Berman gave a different analyst a quick question about certain games of the day.
- Young is Restless: This quarterback-focused segment only came on occasionally. This is when Steve Young talked about in-depth stuff which happened that day.
- Press Release: ESPN'S 2006 NFL LINEUP SURROUNDS MONDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL WITH 188 YEARS OF GRIDIRON EXPERIENCE
- ESPN.com Limbaugh resigns from NFL show